December 14, 2005

Even the Japanese love Christmas!

Although, judging by these faintly disturbing diagrams of the proper methods for how a Japanese Santa is supposed to leave presents, they aren't quite clear on the concept. Accordion Guy adds appropriate captions here.

A reader writes:

Those Japanese Christmas how-to's reminded me of the old story of the Japanese department store that reportedly made a life-size display of Santa crucified for Christmas.

I always thought it was true but apparently there is no documented evidence of this. It's evidently an urban legend.

Well, Christmas is the season for believing, and doggone it, I want to believe in this tale of the Japanese department store with the crucified Santa.

A reader writes:

Nearly every supermarket, restaurant, and big box store in Japan has Merry Christmas signs this time of year ... despite the fact that very few people in Japan are Christian. Most conspicuous is the blaring Christmas carols coming from every direction. Silent Night, The First Noel, and Jingle Bells seem to top the list, but, unfortunately, so does Wham's "Last Christmas." The Japanese are utterly shocked when I explain to them that this song was popular for only a brief time in the 1980s in America. I don't really know if that is true, as I have never even heard the song before coming to Japan, and, since I am only 23, I am not exactly old enough to recall the tune. I think that the true spirit of multiculturalism is about celebrating other people's traditions too; in Japan, the attitude seems to be, "If it is a reason to party, let's party!" rather than the American attitude of "Keep your parties indoors lest you offend my hypersensitivities." As a person who loves Christmas, it is very nice living in Japan, sans "Last Christmas."

In America, St. Patrick's Day is an ethnic holiday to which everybody is invited, as is Cinco de Mayo, although that is mostly a synthetic holiday invented by American liquor companies. (Real Mexicans are more excited by Mexican Independence Day in September.) Columbus Day is both an ethnic (Italian) and patriotic holiday.

I'm not sure exactly what Martin Luther King's Birthday is -- exclusive or inclusive -- because the public suffers from holiday boredom by the middle of January so it passes without much notice. My suggestion has always been to move MLK Day to August, where it would be much more popular.

But Kwanzaa and Hanukkah appear to be anti-inclusive holidays, the opposite of St. Patrick's Day.

Christmas, of course, is extremely inclusive, with something for all men of good will, which, I suspect, is why it is now so resented. The impressive, globe-spanning richness of "Christmas culture," the countless songs, the movies, the old legends, the literature, the recipes, the customs, the art, the decor, the costumes, and, worst of all, the genial benevolence of Christmas when compared to the cultural paucity of Kwanzaa and Hanukkah drive some people up the wall. The fundamental psychological issue is that Christmas is an all-around better holiday than its rivals, and in our status-hungry world, Christmas' superiority makes some people very angry.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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